AACF, Inc.'s Story

Aid for Autistic Children & Families Foundation, Inc.™ was founded by musician and author Michael Buckholtz, who is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome* and OCD. He and his family experienced the financial disaster of coping with autism. In 1992 the family agreed, through much investigation, that Michael, his brothers and father, all had varying levels of autism. It wasn't until Michael's nephew was recently diagnosed with ASD that he decided to create a non-profit dedicated to assisting families financially. Michael Buckholtz' desire to ensure that poor families and individuals coping with autism get a level playing field financially, comes largely because of seeing his own family struggle to make ends meet. He knew that other families were experiencing the same thing. Together with his family and close friends, without grants or funding, Michael founded AACF, Inc.

AACF Corporate Documentation, click here.

Our Program

Application Assessment - Clients will have their debt evaluated through a detailed application process as well as advice from an independent non-profit consumer credit counseling and financial restructuring organization, working along with AACF, Inc.This assessment determines your debt forgiveness limit.

 Applicable Debt Solution - No money will exchange hands. AACF, Inc. will negotiate the client's assessed reduction or deletion of debt directly with the creditors and settle them by means of the "Debt Forgiveness" trust.

 "Kitchen Table" Economics 101 - AACF, Inc. will provide fundamental financial advice to our newly debt free clients. This will include, but not be limited to, checkbook balancing, bill paying, Online banking tips, budgeting food, clothing expenses, auto maintenance, ATM usage, credit card management, keeping good financial records and basic tax concerns.

The Maximum "Debt Forgiveness" -  AACF, Inc. evaluated all current finance studies and data related to families raising autistic children and autistic adults coping with the financial cost of private therapies and education. From this, the calculated maximum limit for forgiveness is $150,000 dollars U.S. per client. Not everyone will get that amount. See "Example" in the next paragraph. The actual amount of forgiveness for each client will be determined on a case by case basis during the Application Assessment process, but, the promised maximum will always be in the trust.

Example: If your total debt assessment is $25,000 dollars, your maximum debt forgiveness is $25,000 dollars.  

To download our debt forgiveness application (PDF), click here.

Our Criteria

The qualifying criteria for this program can vary depending on one's personal circumstances. In light of the many financial complexities associated with arranging one's life to raise an autistic loved one, or an autistic adult who finds themselves in financial hardship, we've created an application that asks all the pertinent questions. Broadly, the key criteria is simple:
  • You must be above the National Debt-to-Income Ratio percentage for housing expense and above the overall Debt-to-Income Ratio percentage for maximum allowable debt. This method will help struggling families with moderate incomes.
  • You must still have a steady stream of income.

What We "Don't Do”

We do not print out checks or give cash directly to individuals for past due utility bills or unforeseen emergencies. There are many city, county and state government programs, along with Easter Seals, Goodwill and The Salvation Army, that assist families with clothes, food, toys, a job, past due utility bills and even a vehicle. We do not pay for or endorse any therapies, medical care or specialized private education programs. AACF, Inc.’s mission is to provide financial relief designed to target debt a family has already incurred – debt directly (or indirectly) generated as a result of medical, educational, therapeutic and other ancillary expenses borne by a family caring for a child with ASD. Simply, this is a drastic form of debt consolidation, leading to a determination of debt reduction or forgiveness, literally giving the family or individual a 'second chance' financially.


Message from Our Founder

I want to welcome all who are coping with autism. This mission is more than personal for me. This effort is humanitarian in scope. This is a comprehensive action to save thousands of children (as well as adults) in our Autistic Communities across the nation. I believe if the hurdle of financial disadvantage is taken away from families living with autism, many more autistic children will reach their potential due to the change in their environment.

These funds allow families to provide a predictable routine...


I know that money is not the answer to the complex issues facing families living with autism. Providing an environment conducive to the positive and specialized teaching of an autistic loved one is much more important. It simply takes some funds to accomplish part of this goal. These funds allow families to provide a predictable routine or schedule.This is necessary for the teaching and nuturing of someone faced with having to cope with autism for the rest of their lives. They need this time and scheduled routine in order to develop the skill set that will allow them to be productive and social members of today's society. That is my mission and I will not deviate from it. I want to give families living with ASD a fair opportunity to help their autistic loved one without feeling like they need to make the choice between eating, proper therapy or physical care. For those of us with autism, this is too important to ignore. Our future ability to care for ourselves is at stake.

More about The Founder

Michael Buckholtz, the founder of Aid for Autistic Children Foundation, Inc.™, lived 35 years of his life neither knowing or fully understanding his condition. For years he was confused and conflicted by his inability to 'connect' on an emotional and social level with others. He often felt left out and painfully uncomfortable in normal social situations because of this. He tried to fit in, though, by observing the behavior of the people around him and on TV, especially comedians. By observing, audibly practicing and then testing these behaviors on acquaintances and close friends, Michael was able to blend easily into many social environments. He's adept at mimicking voices, sounds, tones, foreign languages and multiple ethnic dialects. 

By the time Michael reached his late 20's, he was a multi-instrumentalist, an award winning multi-platinum record producer, performer, songwriter and his face graced the cover of a very influential international music industry periodical. However, he was becoming more reclusive and the symptoms were worsening. Close family friends, who did not know Michael's immediate family, suggested he look into Asperger's Syndrome (no longer a DSM-V listed diagnosis; just considered ASD) as a reason for his behavior. They sent a letter directly to his family filled with news articles and documentation about Asperger's Syndrome. It was at this point that Michael's new life journey began.

In his 40's, Michael wrote a book about how he managed to live in his world of social disconnect undetected. He has had many crushing failures in his life along with many unbelievable miracles. He only desires that others in the autistic community get the help they need as early as possible so as not to fall into similar conditions of despair and maybe financial ruin. There was a time Michael would have even been homeless if it wasn't for M.C. Hammer or immediate family. It is for this reason he started the Aid for Autistic Children & Families Foundation, Inc.™ and has become a full time advocate for the Autistic Community.

Aid for Autistic Children & Families Foundation, Inc.™ is dedicated to providing debt forgiveness on a case by case basis. We give assistance to autistic adults and families who've done everything they could do for themselves or their autistic child(ren) and have run out of options. When you've applied for all the government and private programs while using up any relevant heathcare benefits or savings, there needs to be a last resort option (a "SafetyNet") and we are working towards being that 365 days a year through the public support and contributions of a caring national community of concerned, informed and empathetic individuals, as well as our corporate citizens (businesses).


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